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Short-term annoyance reactions to stationary and time-varying wind turbine and road traffic noise

[Abstract] Current literature suggests that wind turbine noise is more annoying than transportation noise. To date, however, it is not known which acoustic characteristics of wind turbines alone, i.e., without effect modifiers such as visibility, are associated with annoyance. The objective of this study was therefore to investigate and compare the short-term noise annoyance reactions to wind turbines and road traffic in controlled laboratory listening tests. A set of acoustic scenarios was created which, combined with the factorial design of the listening tests, allowed separating the individual associations of three acoustic characteristics with annoyance, namely, source type (wind turbine, road traffic), A-weighted sound pressure level, and amplitude modulation (without, periodic, random). Sixty participants rated their annoyance to the sounds. At the same A-weighted sound pressure level, wind turbine noise was found to be associated with higher annoyance than road traffic noise, particularly with amplitude modulation. The increased annoyance to amplitude modulation of wind turbines is not related to its periodicity, but seems to depend on the modulation frequency range. The study discloses a direct link of different acoustic characteristics to annoyance, yet the generalizability to long-term exposure in the field still needs to be verified.

Journal of the Acoustical Society of America 2016 May;139(5):2949.
doi: 10.1121/1.4949566 [1].

Beat Schäffer, Reto Pieren, Kurt Heutschi
Laboratory for Acoustics/Noise Control, Empa, Swiss Federal Laboratories for Materials Science and Technology, Dübendorf, Switzerland
Sabine J. Schlittmeier, Ralf Graf, and Jürgen Hellbrück
Work, Environmental, and Health Psychology, Catholic University of Eichstätt-Ingolstadt, Eichstätt, Germany
Mark Brink
Noise and NIR Division, Federal Office for the Environment, Bern, Switzerland

Download original document: “Short-term annoyance reactions to stationary and time-varying wind turbine and road traffic noise [2]